Legislative Walkouts

Need context? Learn more about the 2019 and 2020 walkouts by reading these helpful articles from Vox and the Statesman Journal.

Bernadette’s Take

  • Walking out is a last-ditch political tactic that takes advantage of a loophole in the Oregon state constitution where, if enough legislators refuse to show up to work, the Oregon Legislative Assembly is ground to a halt and important legislation cannot get passed.
  • The legislators who walked out collected a taxpayer-funded paycheck even when they didn’t show up for work. Regular people don’t get paid when they don’t go to work, and politicians shouldn’t get paid for skipping work either.
  • During the 2019 and 2020 walkouts, the Senate couldn’t hold session and was basically shut down. That meant the Senate was idle for ten working days in 2019 and essentially the entire 2020 regular legislative session, wasting hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars and blocking important legislation, including multiple wildfire bills. That’s simply wrong.
  • Good lawmaking comes from consensus and compromise – but in 2020 year my general election opponent Mr. Boquist said he will not negotiate on a bill he doesn’t like, and may lead another walk out again to prevent its passage. This is not how to get things done in Oregon.
  • It is important that the opinions and preferences of political minorities get heard in Salem but exploiting a constitutional loophole like a walkout is not the right way forward. Good governance reforms include setting up an independent redistricting commission (such as what was proposed by Ballot Initiative 57), implementing ranked choice voting or STAR voting, and establishing reasonable campaign finance limits.
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